This post provides a rather long answer to my lovely reader Wendy’s question from the last post. Here is the photo of the petal from a distance.
Here is the petal next to a ruler.
The ruler is in inches, and 1 inch = 2.54 cm. The entire petal is 1.25 inches long (3.175 cm), the petal is worked in 5 colors, and the longest stitches are 0.5 inches long (1.27 cm).
If you want long-and-short stitch to blend like this example, you must do very long stitches, and they need to be uneven. The human brain is extremely good at noticing patterns, so if you make all the long stitches the same length or all the short stitches the same length, people will immediately notice. So none of my stitches are exactly the same length. And if you always do long-short-long-short that may also stand out – so you should occasionally do short-short-long or some other combination to mix it up. You will even see some spots where a long stitch will reach all the way through a row of the middle color to touch the row of color on the other side.
I do most of the alternate long and short stitches in the first row (at the outer edge of the petal). The following rows are mostly uneven because they follow the line of the first row, not because every row has long and short stitches. But the stitches are still not the same length – I kept it random. The very last row (the dark purple) fills in the remaining space, so it has some long and short stitches too.
This is just how to do a petal like mine. There are situations where you might want to ignore all these suggestions! Two examples:
- If you are working an animal or bird, you might want shorter stitches so it looks fluffy like fur or feathers.
- If you want a stylized formal effect, then don’t make the stitches random.
To go read YET MORE about this stitch, you can either take a look at The Unbroken Thread’s post on her trials when learning long-and-short stitch, or for a really thorough approach, Mary Corbet’s sampler lessons for long and short stitch. If you just want eye-candy, see Trish Burr’s work.